Some years ago I, before I got my interest back into photography, I use to carry a point-and-shoot around. dSLR’s were bulky and expensive (they did not change much, my opinion about those facts did ;-) ).
Then Nokia released the N97, that would be the best smartphone ever! It had a good camera (on specs) and I was wondering if it would be a replacement for my point-and-shoot. That was before the iPhone could take reasonable pictures, so before the “iPhonography”).
Well, the camera of the N97 had, first of all, a small problem. There was a sliding lens cover (good idea) and the flash would be just beside the lens and cover by a common glass layer. The sliding lens cover would scratch this glass causing internal reflection of the light from the flash and it would introduce a gradient of luminous contamination in your shots.
Camera was useless with flash, after the first month of use.
A bit latter I got my dSLR and my photography split in two types: the “I’m trying to take really nice shots” and the casual “I want to share this in social media, or email someone because it’s a funny/interesting thing”, but with no photographic interest, just a record of something.
The thing is that, since the beginning I Shoot Raw (paraphrasing Fro Knows Photo). And images need to be minimally processed (Lightroom basics, at least) and this requires time and a certain “mood”. You need to sit in front of the computer and actively do something. This doesn’t happen all that often, and when it does, I like to use it for what I consider the best photos of some trip, or walk. At the end, those “registers”, end up being left behind and mostly lost meaning, for not being used timely. Also, every shot from my dSLR ends in a double backup disk, plus a imported copy on Lightroom.
Meanwhile my wife kept using the point-and-shoot, we even had to buy a new one, because the old one died on us.
Then she’s got a Samsung Note II. From this moment on, those pictures start being taken directly with the phone and being shared immediately. A bit later I abandoned my N97 (the most disappointing phone ever, though robust) and got a Samsung S5, embarking on the shoot and share experience. This way images where being share timely (not many), making sense. Poor point-and-shoot, it’s feeling lonely :-)
Then comes the second part. Images from phone were missing this “notch up”, and that’s where Snapseed came along. It makes all the difference in the world. In a couple of minutes, you change your image and is able to share something nice.
Last week, Google has updated Snapseed in a considerable way (now 2.0). Just a week using and just a couple of tests, but the changes were great. The main things are still there (tonal adjustments, crop, align, sharpening). The two main changes for me are: adjustments are non-destructive and stackable and adjustment brushes.
Before you would apply one effect or filter (like the tonal adjustments) and “save”. Then you’d crop and “save”. No coming back. Now it creates a stack of what you did and you go back there and edit the settings and fine-tune what you did. No matter how deep in the stack it is. You can also apply adjustment brushes (that you paint with your finger ;-) ), where you change exposure, temperature, saturation, or you can dodge and burn.
The only “shame”, so far, is that we can clearly see that even though Snapseed and Android are Google products, people in there are thinking iOS first (“yeah, yeah, damm iOS … booooo” :-) ). I just would like to have the same features in both platforms and it surprises me that the iOS version has more features than the Android one. While the Android version “consolidates” all your edits into a jpg, when you save the file, the iOS version saves your processing stack, allowing you to go back later and tune your settings, a editable format. PLEASE, correct me if I’m wrong, but I could not file a way to save the stack in Android!!
Saw some complaints about some filters missing. I confess I haven’t missed then yet, and probably won’t since I never really used them before. It’s not a Lightroom in your phone, but it does a pretty good job giving some punch to your phone images.
There are already some tutorials and reviews on-line and you can have a good set of information on interview with Nils Kokemohr and on a free class that KelbyOne prepared about Snapseed.
Worth trying it.